Beliefnet
The Queen of My Self

What is an archetype? The literal definition of archetype is “the original pattern or model from which all things of a similar kind are copied or on which they are based; a model or first form; a prototype. Archetype also refers to an ideal example of a category, the quintessence of a class.”

In Jungian psychology, an archetype is an inherited pattern of thought or symbolic imagery derived from the past collective experience, which is present in the individual unconscious. An archetype is an image-idea, a stylized pattern that we carry within our psyche, a mythic model that guides our development and gives direction and meaning to our lives.

The Triple Goddess — The Maiden, the Mother and The Crone — offers women a role model for their developing youth, for their creative, nurturing years, and for their old age. But these archetypes don’t include me or other women in our middle years. They do not address our issues and needs. They do not even recognize our existence.

The old stereotypes simply do not apply to us. We haven’t been Maidens in decades, we are no longer Mother material, and we are definitely not old Crones. We women of a certain age who are excluded from the tripartite paradigm also need a model with which to identify.

We need a larger-than-life archetypal framework to help us to elevate our personal aging process to legendary proportions. A mythological mirror of our own midlife experience, so that when we look into its depths, we can see a clear reflection of our own potential.

When I could not find a role model within the Triple Goddess archetype to describe my life as a midlife woman, I created my own. Was this hubris? Who am I to conceive an archetype? Well, I am in fact, a proud member of the pioneering Sixties Generation, and consequently, I have a certain modest amount of experience in rebelling against the status quo of old systems and beliefs and striving to replace them with new, more inclusive and relevant ones.

Our generation has demonstrated time and again that it is possible to create our own characters, compose our own scripts, and author the sagas of our own lives. We are our own role models. Bereft of affirming depictions of our lives, today’s midlife women are more than ready, willing, and perfectly capable of creating our own.

Each one of us has a story, a myth, a legend to create — and to live. The shamanic assumption from which I operate is that every person has her own mission in this lifetime: her own path, her own dreams, her own symbols and sensibilities, her own visions and designs, her own way of learning, her own personalized hard-won lessons. That every one of us must figure out for ourselves the fullest, richest, most effective, ethical and satisfying way in which to do it; and moreover, that each and every one of us possesses the wisdom, the power and the response-ability to make it so.

In our search for new archetypes, we look to the past for grounding, look to the future for courage, look to each other for inspiration and support, and look to ourselves for the answers.

What is your vision of an ideal role model to guide you along the path of your life?

*****

Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She offers counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

 

Although I have been passionately devoted to the Many Splendored Goddess in Her complex multiplicity for more than thirty years now, I am not a believer in the Triple Goddess paradigm. It has never resonated with me because it belies what I believe to be the true nature of nature. The Triple Goddess in Her tripartite phases is widely understood to represent the complete cyclical wholeness of life. She Who is Three is likened to the moon, the tides, and the seasons, whose mutability She mirrors. And therein, lies the rub.

I am sorry, but thirty-five years of researching, teaching, and writing about Celestially Auspicious Occasions — the cycles of the cosmos and the Earthly seasons, and the multi-cultural ritual expressions that they inspire — I can state unequivocally that the moon has four quarters, not three, and that there are, as well, four seasons in the year.

For millennia, the three faces of the Triple Goddess have, in fact, accurately reflected the stages of women’s lives — the developing youth, the nurturing mother and the wise old woman. She still corresponds with the real life expectancy and experience of most women in the world even today who live pretty much as they always have. The reality of their existence dictates that they grow quickly through girlhood into early and prolonged maternity, then if they are lucky enough to survive multiple childbirths and general poverty, they pass through menopause directly into old age.

While certainly there is still much to learn from these models, the old triple-header construct is no longer all-inclusive. It doesn’t include a description of my life or the lives of other contemporary women in their middle years living in modern developed countries. It does not address our issues and needs, nor does it embrace our unique and unprecedented position in society. It does not even recognize our existence. The old stereotypes simply do not apply to us.

We have outgrown our tenure as Maidens and as Mothers, yet old age no longer follows immediately after menopause, which is why so many midlife women don’t see ourselves (yet) as Crones. Where is the authentic archetype for us? There are now, for the first time in herstory and history combined, entire multinational generations of women for whom the Triple Goddess paradigm no longer resonates. For us — nearly 60 million climacteric women in the United States alone — the tri-level ideal is flawed.

We occupy a truly unique position, poised on the brink of uncharted waters. This extended and vigorous midlife period which we are now beginning to experience is largely unaccounted for in myth and archetype for the simple reason that such longevity has never before occurred for the great masses of women as a whole. We desperately need a new body of role models, examples, and teachers to encourage us as we explore the unfamiliar terrain of our changing lives and create new and joyful ways of being in charge of our own destiny.

Clearly it is time for a change of paradigm. Which is as it should be. Life is about nothing if not change, which is, after all, the greatest teaching of the cyclical Goddess. Her power and inspiration lies in Her infinite flexibility, Her adept adaptability, Her unbounded ability to always, always, always change. The Great Goddess, supreme mistress of the art of transformation will surely respond to the changes in our lives and times by enlarging the vision of Her Self to include Her fourth dimension — and ours — in Her archetypal embrace.

In the absence of a traditional mythic example to spur me on and sustain me through my midlife changes, I perceived the need to invent one. So I formulated a fourth stage of development that would place me after the Mother and before the Crone in a newly defined continuum of Womanhood, thus providing me and other women of my generation with a recognizable role model for our middle years: The Four Fold Goddess: The Maiden, The Mother, The Queen and The Crone.

*****

Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She offers counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

 

Queen Sue Kearny of Oakland, California is the winner of The Queen of My Self book giveaway. Congratulations!

 

Welcome Queens!

Are you in your middle years or about to enter them? Are you living your true potential and following your fondest dreams? If not, why not? And if not now, when?

Now is the time to leave behind old patterns that no longer serve you and to make way for the Queen — that wonderful midlife stage of meaning, moxie, and majesty that is rightfully yours to enjoy.

We are now, after some months of silence, resuming our blog adventure. I see it as a royal expedition, a noble quest to access the fullness of our mature presence, purpose and passion in midlife and beyond.

I offer my services as the been-there-done-that advance scout, sharing my own experience in affirmative aging in the hopes that it will be inspiring and useful as we chart our course toward personal sovereignty. The Queen, supreme archetypal paradigm of mature female potency, will be our esteemed role model, mentor and guide.

The Queen teaches by example and also by metaphor. On this blog you will share the stories of women, mine included, throughout time and from many different societies, situations and stations who have successfully crossed the hard divide and created daring and dynamic lives for themselves.

These compelling herstories will be interwoven with folklore, poetry, myth, practical suggestions, exercises, affirmations, celebrations, rituals and invocations. And most importantly, interaction. You comments, ideas, suggestions, discussions are all encouraged.

Ultimately, I envision this blog to be a virtual Queen’s Court, populated by active, engaged, excited, experienced, empowered and extraordinarily excellent mature women.

The more Queenly I become, the more I desire to be in the company of other Queens. Please join me on this journey to sovereignty.

*****

Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She offers counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.

 

Hail Queens!

After writing for Beliefnet for several years, I took a much-needed 6-month leave of absence (which I am sure you noticed!)

Thanks so much for checking in while I was gone. In appreciation, I am offering a special thank you gift: I will send a complimentary copy of The Queen of My Self to the first woman who requests one. That’s right. All you have to do is ask! Just send me an email at thequeenofmyself@aol.com along with your mailing address and I will ship one out to you.

Now I am back on track and delighted to be here again. This page will be updated three times a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. So come back often for more upbeat, practical and ceremonial information and inspiration geared to all women who want to enjoy the fruits of an influential, passionate, and powerful maturity. 

The Queen of My Self page is not only for women in their midlife. Young women can benefit greatly, as well. You are never too young to develop your sovereign power!

You might also like to subscribe to The Queen’s Chronicles, the monthly Ezine that picks up where The Queen of My Self book leaves off. Sign up for your free subscription at www.thequeenofmyself.com.

And while you are at it, do join our Queen’s Court on Facebook.

Thanks for holding this space for me.

Here we go again!

With best regal blessings,

xxQueen Mama Donna

*****

Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She offers counseling and support for individual women and groups. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™

The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to thequeenofmyself@aol.com.